There have been a number of different ways to raise awareness introduced over the years, not just for mental illness but for a huge range of different illnesses. Dressing up, or sharing a meal is a great way to raise awareness and much needed funds for research. There is a new fundraiser on the block and I’m not sure if I agree with the idea behind it.
The new fundraiser is called Zip It and it does raise money for some great organisations, however I don’t agree with the idea behind it. Like the Ocsober and Dry July’s of the fundraising world, Zip It is about getting your friends and family to donate because you are giving something up for the cause. This cause asks you to give up your voice for 24 hours, no talking, in effect you are going to Zip It for Mental Illness.
One of the biggest struggles we face with mental health awareness is that not enough people are talking about the struggles that they are facing. I find it strange then, that this fundraiser was created, something which is basically the opposite of what those of us who are advocating for better treatment are aiming for.
So for 24 hours you can’t talk, that means that you can’t explain what the money is for. You can’t talk about your experiences and why this is a cause that is so close to your heart. It means that you can’t help support a friend who might chose this time to share their struggles. Sure, you can share your stories in the lead up to the day, but in my opinion, the most important day is the day of awareness.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was sick of people trying to sweep mental illness under the rug. Yet here is a fundraiser that is about silence, I find this unacceptable. Lives have been lost because of silence, people have been left to struggle along because of silence. There is no awareness in silence.
Yes it is only 24 hours, but any time that we are silent about mental illness is too long. We don’t need an awareness day that asks us to be silent, we need an awareness day that challenges us to share our stories. We need more people talking, more people sharing their stories and less people left in silence.
Do you think that an awareness day based around not talking is a good idea? Could you last 24 hours without talking?
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